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Writing in the Disciplines

At the University of Tennessee, many courses include writing as a central component.  While many academic papers may share similar goals, however, each discipline has unique expectations and requirements for successful writing.  For example, writing for a Philosophy course can be very different than writing for English, and writing for a science class can be completely different than writing for a humanities class.

First-year composition classes cannot teach students the specific expectations for every discipline—those lessons are best learned while taking classes and completing writing assignments in the many different subject areas in which students take classes.

The links below offer information about writing in various disciplines.  You will find helpful explanations and tips for writing in the natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities.

Always follow your own professor’s guidelines first, no matter what advice you may find on the links below.

Writing in the Natural Sciences

Writing in the Biological Sciences

Writing in the Social Sciences

 Quantitative Writing and Reasoning Guide for Social Sciences projects

  • This site defines and gives examples of quantitative writing and offers sample assignments across disciplines.

Writing in Sociology 

The University of California, Berkeley provides a comprehensive overview, Writing for Sociology, for doing research and writing in Sociology.

Writing in Business and Management Courses

Writing in Psychology

  • Harvard offers a set of guidelines for writing in Psychology. This PDF includes information on writing the sections of a common Psychology paper and a valuable section concerning sources.

Writing in Public and International Affairs

Writing in the Humanities

  •  The University of Oregon offers four keys for writing in humanities courses.

Tips for Writing a Philosophy Paper

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology  provides tips on writing within the discipline of Philosophy.  The site is divided into “major” and “minor” guidelines to provide writers with more focused information.

Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers

  • California State University at Sacramento provides Philosophy students with some general guidelines. The site includes information on structure, the basics of argumentation, and tips on citations.

Reading and Writing in English Studies: A Guide for Students

  • Harvard University provides students in English a guide for writing the English paper, including writing standards, tips on the reading and writing process, tips on the research process, suggestions for turning close reading into a thesis, and a list of questions to ask while reading.

Writing about Fiction

Writing in History 100: The History of Western Civilization

  • George Mason University offers a set of guidelines for use by undergraduates in History. This site is formulated with a particular course at GMU in mind (History 100: The History of Western Tradition), but it is applicable to other schools as well. It offers advice from history instructors. A link to information on Turabian Style is also provided.

Religious Studies Writing Guide


Business/Professional Writing

Adding Emphasis in Business Writing

  • The OWL at Purdue offers specific information about writing in business courses. The site offers advice to help students produce more effective business communications by using strategies that add emphasis within a document.

Memo Writing

The Anatomy of a Press Release

  • This site provides the step-by-step process of producing a press release.  While not an academic site, it presents the information in a manner that would be beneficial to students engaged in such an assignment.

Ten Elements of an Effective Press Release

  • This site offers suggestions to make press releases more effective. It does not provide a step-by-step account of the writing process for press releases; instead, it provides tips on improving existing writing. 


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